Britain can not have unilateral power to end Brexit backstop, Ireland warns May

Britain can not have unilateral power to end Brexit backstop, Ireland warns May

The close alignment envisaged under the deal would remove the need for a "backstop" for the Northern Ireland border.

According to the Telegraph, May has included Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, the government's chief legal adviser, in her special Brexit Cabinet after ministers said they wouldn't sign off on a deal without his advice.

Britain wants instead to keep the whole U.K.in an EU customs union, but only temporarily.

On Twitter, Mr Coveney said: "The Irish position remains consistent and very clear that a "time-limited backstop" or a backstop that could be ended by United Kingdom unilaterally would never be agreed to by Ireland or the European Union".

The reports suggest that the Prime Minister has effectively abandoned her Chequers plan, and is now open to negotiating a different "landing zone" for the final deal.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said on Sunday that recent report claiming that May had agreed with the European Union to keep the United Kingdom in the Customs Union, avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, were "speculation".

The proposal was branded a "major breach of faith" by Chairman of the European Research Group Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, who told the Mail on Sunday: "I am assuming the Government will stick to its manifesto commitment to leaving the customs union when we leave the EU".

But Britain's Conservative government and its Northern Irish ally, the Democratic Unionist Party, won't accept that because it would mean customs and regulatory checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

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However, the newspaper also reported that the new deal will include an "exit clause" created to convince those who support Brexit that remaining in the customs union is only temporary.

The EU has reportedly accepted that customs checks can take place at shops and factories, rather than at the border - which, if true, would remove the problem of where to put the customs border post-Brexit.

He said there was a "rapidly ticking clock" but that minds were now being focused with a view to concluding a deal and he welcomed that.

A spokesperson said: "The prime minister has been clear that we are making good progress on the future relationship and 95pc of the Withdrawal Agreement is now settled and negotiations are ongoing".

"In March the United Kingdom agreed this backstop will apply "unless and until" a close future relationship eliminates any need for border infrastructure or related checks and controls. That is why we are increasingly positive on the expectation of reaching a deal".

Indeed, some of those officials believe a November summit is essential if there is to be sufficient time to get any deal passed through parliament.

"While we too hope the Northern Ireland backstop will never be required to be used, it will be required to be written down in legal text".

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